To help you manage your online reputation with the right decorum online, we asked marketing professionals and business leaders for their best etiquette advice. From always overcommunicating to responding within 24 hours, there are several tips you can use to demonstrate and enhance your internet social graces.
Here are 14 tips to enhance your etiquette in internet communication:
- Use Hashtags Strategically
- Attend to Your Online Audience
- Respect Others’ Privacy
- Be Kind
- Read Messages Aloud Before Sending
- Be Careful of Your Tone
- End Emails With a Proper Signature
- Limit Your Notifications — Ping Etiquette
- Always Over Communicate
- Keep It Simple
- Clean up Your Links
- Respond In 24 Hours Or Less
- Manage Your Emotions
- Avoid Slang and Abbreviations in Emails
If you’re going to use hashtags to promote yourself on a social platform like Twitter or Facebook, I urge you to maintain “hashtag hygiene.” We use hashtags but use them sparingly.
If you flood your posts with irrelevant hashtags, the messiness is a major turn-off, and people won’t respond in the way you want or expect them to. Your audience will really appreciate it if you employ relevant, quality hashtags in your posts.
Kenna Hamm, Texas Adoption Center
Your customers should be able to expect a responsive and genuine online customer service experience from you. If you don’t already have a customer service presence on Twitter, create one. Have a knowledgeable and friendly staff member monitor the account on a regular basis to ensure inquiries or complaints are promptly received and appropriately addressed. Trust me, you’ll build a lot of goodwill that will create sustainable customer loyalty down the road.
Peter Babichenko, Sahara Case
Do not forward information to others without first checking with the sender. If you’re emailing anything to multiple people, use BCC (blind carbon copy) rather than CC (carbon copy).
You may believe that we are all friends online, but your friends may not want their identities or email addresses to be shared with strangers. It’s the same if you post images or videos of other people on social media or send them to your own contacts.
Remember that tagging someone on Facebook allows others to see their photos unless they have modified their privacy settings.
Randall Smalley, Cruise America
If you wouldn’t say something to someone in person, don’t write it on the internet. Apply this advice to any social networking site, forum, chat room, or email message. As a business owner of a lash supply company, I want my brand to be perceived in a certain way and being unkind is just not part of the plan.
Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional
Internet communication can be tricky to interpret sometimes. To help your message come across clearly, ensure you read it aloud before sending it. Sometimes when just typing the words, you don’t catch errors or areas that could be misinterpreted. Reading emails, texts, or social media posts aloud can be beneficial for avoiding misinterpretation.
Sophia Orlando, Markitors
I always recommend a neutral dialogue that limits emotional writing and slang. Miscommunication through email easily happens based on the use of capitalizations, punctuation, slang words, and dialogue. To remedy this, it is best to follow a formal format with proper sentence structure and straightforward communication. The goal of any email is to pass information without any miscommunication or misdirection. Try re-reading or having another person look over to ensure it cannot be taken out of context. This practice will ensure everyone stays in good standing and communication is not interrupted.
Mark Smith, University of Advancing Technology
One etiquette tip I have for anyone writing constant emails is to have a proper email signature. Indeed, an email signature validates one’s professionalism and also provides a wonderful first impression to those who are unfamiliar with your business or services.
Specifically, always have the following within your signature: (1) your company logo, (2) your name plus job title, (3) your phone number, and (4) a URL of your company’s home page.
With a proper email address, you have taken the first step towards creating professional and trustworthy dialogue.
Lori Price, PixieLane
We use Slack, and one tip I would highly advise users to follow is only to tap the @here or @channel button when necessary. To avoid involving unrelated team members in a group channel, you can ping one member individually or respond without mentioning the others, greatly reducing the number of notifications produced via constant correspondence.
With so many tasks and correspondences happening throughout the busy workday, the number of notifications can play a factor in building up an unnecessary amount of stress for those who don’t need to reply to the message. So not only is it a best practice as far as directly communicating with those in the message, but it will also serve as a nice gesture for workplace etiquette.
Nick Shackelford, Structured Agency
This applies to a lot of things, especially any quick messaging platform like Facebook or Slack. Be as specific and detailed as possible. (I often use bullet points to outline my thoughts).
It’s so easy to misinterpret the text, especially when it’s from a supervisor. Words that are meant to be helpful can appear condescending, especially when employees are working at home and potentially overthinking things more. If you don’t hear back from someone, follow up to see if they have any questions or need clarification.
Ryan Brown, Kenra Professional
It’s always good to keep your message simple so that the person you are speaking with will have an easier time understanding what it is you’re trying to convey. In addition, they may be getting bombarded by other messages and need some clarity on this occasion or another, so make things as straightforward for them as possible!
Saskia Ketz, Mojomox
When adding a link in email or through slack, it is best to rename this link so that you don’t look informal or unorganized. For example if the link is to a google doc, instead of using the long google document link, rename the link to something that applies to the subject matter in the google doc. This will be more presentable to your client or coworker and will button up your message. This is the proper etiquette when sharing a link with your customer, client, or coworker and it takes only a minute to do.
John Wu, Gryphon Connect
Businesses should always respond to questions and feedback on social media in 24 hours or less. Keeping in touch with followers means keeping in touch with customers.
If someone is asking about the benefits of a particular product on Instagram, it’s important to respond quickly and professionally as if this were an in-person interaction. Engaging with customers’ needs and concerns will result in followers and customers feeling valued and appreciated.
Lance Herrington, UNICO Nutrition
As a CEO it’s important to remember I am a role model and a leader. People are watching me even when I don’t think anyone is. It’s really important to manage your emotions, lead with integrity and remember your words matter. People are making decisions whether or not to do business with and/or work for you based on your behavior and your beliefs. The way you view the world and how you make decisions under pressure or when put on the spot.
Amanda Russo, Cornerstone Paradigm Consulting, LLC
Abbreviations and slang are fine to use in personal emails but should be avoided in professional communication with customers and colleagues. Although the sender may understand what the abbreviation means, the receiver may not be familiar with the term, and context can get lost in translation.
Additionally, if ultra-casual slang doesn’t align with the brand, then it shouldn’t be included in company emails. To avoid confusion and misunderstanding, try to stay on brand and keep your communication professional.
Hayley Albright, Xena Workwear